Setting the Scene

Saturday, September 20, 2014 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 18:  Queenstown & Glenorchy

It was Saturday, so we decided to take it easy today, sleeping in and not leaving the hotel until late morning.  Our ambition for the day was modest—driving 30 winding miles to the town of Glenorchy (pop. 465) and back to Queenstown.

Billed locally as "one of the world's top 10 scenic drives," the road traces the shore of Lake Wakatipu and passes through small bays with clusters of houses before entering native forest at Bob's Cove.  As you exit the forest, the road affords excellent views across the lake to Walter Peak and Mount Nichols.

Just past the halfway mark to Glenorchy, you arrive at Bennett's Bluff where the mountain ranges come into view.  As you get closer to Glenorchy, the mountains come nearer until they close all around you.

In the little village of Glenorchy, which promotes itself as the gateway to paradise, we paused for a relaxed lunch at the rustic Bonnie Jean restaurant in the country-style Glenorchy Hotel.  Buying petrol at a local garage/post office, we had an interesting chat with Ruby, who works there on weekends.  She visited her son and American daughter-in-law in Ohio earlier this year and marveled that they would choose to live in a place where there is only one tree in their neighborhood when they could be in New Zealand.  We found this puzzling also.

Having seen some amazing scenic drives in our travels, we had to agree that this one was near the top of our lists.  Perhaps not as scenic as the California coast or Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail, but this was eye candy at its best.

Tomorrow we have booked a photo safari with a local professional photographer for our last day in the Queenstown area.

Daily Stats:
  • Started in Queenstown, ended in Queenstown
  • Mileage - 60     (Trip total: 13,561)
  • Weather - 31° to 51°, rainy, overcast, sunny